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The wildest kind of pre.., p.1
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       The Wildest Kind of Pretty, p.1

           R.J. Abell
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The  Wildest Kind of Pretty

  The Wildest Kind of Pretty

  By R.J. Abell

  Copyright © 2016 R.J. Abell

  All rights reserved.

  Cover Design by Lily Seydoux |

  Ebook formatting |

  You may contact R.J. Abell at: [email protected]

  For all my wild people out there,

  Be wild and free forever with me.

  Table of Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 1

  Ozzy blares through the speakers of my cousin’s tracker. My favorite part in the song is coming up, my chest swells with anticipation, my mouth goes all watery and dry, I want to belt out the lyrics, but I don’t. Instead I just swallow the urge and ignore the way my heart itches to sing along, and I do the exact opposite and pretend I don’t like it. I groan just before kicking the driver’s seat, “put something cool on gawd!” then I sneak a glance at my best friend Kammie, she’s looking out the window oblivious to the music. I slump back in my seat and close my eyes, secretly relishing every note Ozzy belts out.

  Trevor bangs out a beat on the dashboard lost in a riff. I envy the fact that he’s a senior mainly because he’s got this high school thing figured out—he knows exactly who he is and is comfortable being as wild and free as he wants. He’s golden in that way, he does whatever the hell he wants and nobody asks questions about it. I want to be like that, feral and reckless as the wind, but I can’t. I’m a freshman, and call me crazy, or better yet call me fifteen, and I didn’t have the guts to stand apart from the crowd. I just want to blend in and survive without being a loser, I’d never felt like this before. I don’t know what happened over the summer, but something inside of me changed.

  I use to be more like Trevor in the sense that I was fearless, never giving things a second thought, but like I said something in me changed over the summer. And I mean more than the long awaited growth spurt of legs and boobs. It happened over night, the change, or maybe it didn’t. Maybe the change took place over time in little pieces, pieces that were so small I hardly noticed it in the beginning. But here I was all chipped away, afraid to be myself, tamed from craving acceptance from my peers.

  I’d totally be jamming the air guitar with him, but I’m scared some kid will see me on their way to school and razz me about it later. Then I’d be stuck with some unwanted label. I managed middle school okay; except for that one time Maggie Lynne made me eat mud in the eighth grade, but even then, kids didn’t seem to bully me about it. But that was middle school, we were all gangly and awkward, stuck in the in-between stages of our bodies blooming before our minds.

  Trevor rolls to a stop as the light turns red, he flicks his eyes in the rearview mirror, and I wait for him to call me out. I raise my eyebrows waiting for it, but it doesn’t come. He nods his head and flicks his eyes back to the road. My stomach burns from the conflict of self preservation and my disloyalty to Trevor. I’m disgusted with myself, but the guilt’s not enough to squelch the inner drive to fit in. I usually get things mixed up; nobody’s ever called me a know-it-all, but I doubt Ozzy was on a lot of girls’ playlists.

  My stomach sinks when our favorite part in the song flows through the speakers, mine and Trevor’s. This is the part we really get into the song if we’re not already drawn in. We’re close, me and Trevor, closer than most cousins. We’re closer than siblings, more like twins than anything else. I’ve always looked up to him, he could do no wrong in my eyes, and everything he did was gold. There’s just something about him that people like, it wasn’t tangible, but it was there. His blood runs through my veins, maybe I’ve got it, maybe I don’t, only time would tell. Things are changing though, another piece of me has been chipped away, and the way that I see him is different; yet, it’s the same.

  We’re still just as close, but I don’t idolize him like a kid does with their favorite super hero. He’s still my hero; only instead of being this image of perfection he’s more flawed and realistic. It’s like when you’re five and you know your dad is the strongest person on the planet and can beat all the other kids’ dads up, but then you turn ten and he dies and you find he’s strong but not invincible.

  Just because you view things differently doesn’t make it any less true, the concept of it all is the same: your heroes are still your heroes, the kid’s dad’s still strong though he’s not here, and I still want to be like Trevor, even though he’s not perfect.

  Our part in the song is blasting through the speakers, Trevor doesn’t miss a beat, he sings along really getting into it as always. Against my better judgment, I watch him sing and my stomach rolls into itself, but I keep my mouth shut. We look a lot alike; we could defiantly be twins, same dark hair and blue eyes, our faces are made of the same crisp lines and edges. Only my face was more heart-shaped and feminine, whereas his face was more square and masculine, firm jaw and all. He never had an issue with girls liking him, which was an issue in itself because as far as I knew Trevor was never after anything serious. He was a free bird if there ever was a free bird. I look away when Trevor eyes me in the rearview mirror, I shouldn’t leave him hanging like this, I should jump in and sing along, but I don’t. The moment passes when the song ends and a different one comes on, it’s some band I truly don’t like this time, so there’s no pressure or guilt from pretending.

  My mood’s wilted from my stupidity, and the idea of starting something new is no longer exciting. It’s silly I know, but I’m disappointed in myself for not joining Trevor in his jam session, disappointed that I don’t have the guts to be myself. I tend to overanalyze everything, and drive myself crazy while doing it. Like right now, I’m tearing myself down, worrying about whether or not Trevor is mad at me or if I hurt his feelings. In reality, Trevor’s probably not giving my behavior a second thought. He gets me; he knows how I’m wired and understands mostly why I do what I do. I wish I could be myself around everyone, but I know I can’t. I know I can’t because I like things that girls my age didn’t.

  Such as I love black and white movies, John Wayne was boss, and Elvis was a total bae. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked cool stuff too, but I just liked a variety of things. I was a sucker for deep lyrics, a rich plot, and killer skills. Anything that has a lot of soul to it, whether it’s a classic film; a crazy good book that you can’t put down; or a silly pop song with a sick beat and catchy lyrics—I was a fan of anything that moved me—anything that I couldn’t get out of my head. And Trevor gets that; gets me, we’re a lot alike, and like a lot of the same things. Only he doesn’t really read, because he’d rather watch a good movie. I prefer both, movies or books it doesn’t matter, just as long as it speaks to me. And because Trevor gets me, he won’t take my bitchiness to heart, this soils my mood.

  I look over at Kammie, she’s still staring out the window. She’s been quiet the whole ride which isn’t like her at all. I jab her arm with my finger. She jumps with a squeal, Trevor looks at us, then back to the road once he knows we’re good. “Are you nervous?” I ask.

  Kammie shoots me a look, “a little, aren’t you?”

  “Are you kidding? Duh!” I grab her hand and give it a squeeze, “at least we got our lockers together.” She nods.

  I study Kammie and can’t imagin
e why she would be nervous. She’s beautiful and funny. Her mom’s half Korean; so Kammie has these big brown eyes and dark glossy hair; plus she’s petite, just as a girl should be. Compared to her I’m an ogre, total Fiona Shrek style. Trevor tells me I’m crazy, he says I’m completely pint-sized and insane in the membrane, but I know what I see when I look in the mirror. I sneak a glance at Kammie, she shoots me a grin, I give her a withering smile then look away. Girls that look like Kammie have no problem fitting in anywhere; I don’t understand how she doesn’t see that, if I looked like her there’s no way I’d be worried about a thing.

  Thoughts like these cause me to doubt that I have it. I blame the long awaited change in my body, the one with the boobs and legs, I’ve wanted the change to take place for years, but now that I’ve got it, I don’t know what to do with it. Part of me loves it, part of me hates it. And thanks to the change inside of me, the one that’s chipped away all the old pieces, I don’t feel comfortable in my skin, I feel awkward and out of place. I’m always divided in two halves. At times I think I’m pretty, but that usually fades when I wonder if other people think I’m pretty. Sometimes I love my dark hair, but then I look in the mirror and decide it’s not dark enough and maybe I should have been blonde. Sometimes I think my new body is hot, full in all the right places, but other times I think I’ve filled out too much, and nothing on me looks right.

  I’m nervous about how the change will be perceived by the guys at school. Now when guys look at me, I’m not sure if it’s because they like what they see or if it’s because they think I look funny, like a stork with boobs. I wonder if they notice that my hair isn’t as thick as a girl’s hair should be, or if they see the way the flab on my legs jiggle when I walk. Always divided in two, part of me wants them to like what they see, while the other doesn’t. Like with the change, when I had their attention, I didn’t know what to do with it.

  Rain starts to splatter against the windshield; dark clouds swirl overhead, it doesn’t look like this shower is going to end anytime soon. By the time we roll into the parking lot it’s a complete down pour. I lean forward in the seat, “Do you have an umbrella?” I hope with everything in me Trev’s got an umbrella stashed away somewhere. But if I know him like I think I do, I’d say he doesn’t.

  Trevor grins, “Sorry Princess Peach.” Yeah, I knew he wouldn’t.

  I grit my teeth, “don’t call me that!” Kammie covers her ears at my high-pitched wail. My anxiety gets the best of me, causing me to lose my cool. I can’t believe Trevor was already making me look bad by calling me a stupid childish nickname. When I was little I was Trevor’s shadow; I would sit next to him while he and his friends played Mario and they all nicknamed me princess peach. I thought that was the coolest thing ever then; now not so much. The thought of him calling me that in front of hot guys was making me nauseous. I wasn’t five years old anymore, I didn’t want to be thought of as Trevor’s baby cousin. I wanted guys to notice that my legs have gotten a little longer, my body a little leaner, and that my boobs have somewhat grown since then.

  Trevor laughs, “Careful, Peach you’ll bust her eardrums.” I tell him again not to call me that, but he just laughs and shakes his head.

  I roll my eyes, “I hate you sometimes,” he hoots that I love him; I shoot him a glare and don’t satisfy him with a response. At first I think he’s going to pull up front to drop us off, but all hope of that fade away when he pulls into a spot clear across the parking lot. I glare at the space between the two yellow lines; I never knew I could resent something so empty, now I hate this piece of pavement. I glare at it like it was the parking space’s fault that I was going to get wet. It was crazy and it didn’t make sense. I blame my anxiety, the rain, and my anxiety about the rain. I close my eyes unable to cope with the mop that would become my hair because of the damn rain. Trevor makes some crack about how it’s a flipping monsoon out there, as if I couldn’t see that for myself.

  “You know you could at least drop us off at the door so we don’t get wet.” I know I’m in the wrong, I know that I’m completely ungrateful because he didn’t have to take us to school, if not for him we’d be riding in the big yellow twinkie. I should shut up and suck it up, but for whatever reason he’s become the object of my frustration. I know he’s not a rainmaker—I know it’s not his fault, but the fact that it’s raining in an untimely fashion just makes me that much more infuriated with him. I’m starting to get on my own damn nerves, I’m being immature, but I’m so annoyed in general that I feel like how the sky looks in the middle of the storm; wild and unruly, dark and cloudy. I was so not feeling the first day of high school, I just knew it was going to be a train wreck.

  Trevor reaches behind his seat; I raise my legs up as he pats around. He leans his body further back, invading our space. I shrink as small as I can manage, “what are you doing?” He ignores me and grabs Kammie’s leg by mistake, as soon as his hand makes contact with her calf it flies back as if he was electrocuted.

  I crack up, “she doesn’t have leprosy!” Kammie and Trevor both flush and he places his hand on the head rest of the passenger seat. I’ve never seen Trevor blush; like ever! I don’t see what the big deal is about a leg, I’m sure Trevor’s had contact with other unmentionable female parts before. I’ve seen the way girls look at him and the way he talks to girls, not that he’s sleazy or anything, but I doubt he’s a virgin. Not to mention all the times I’ve seen him sneak girls in and out of his window at night, so what gives with him blushing over a leg; Kammie’s leg at that. There’s no way he’d like her in a million years, she’s gorgeous of course, but she’s my best friend and we’ve all grown up together, so him liking her would be weird and out of the question.

  “Sorry,” Trevor mumbles so fast it’s hardly audible. He shakes his bangs from his eyes, “you girls see if you can’t find a poncho in the floorboard.” I don’t budge, instead I eye him suspiciously, but then I decide to let it go.

  It’s not that I didn’t want them to date or anything, but I just knew Trevor’s never really had a serious girlfriend, he’s always said he’s too young and there’re too many wild pretty things out there for him to decide on just one right now. While I knew Trevor, I also knew Kammie, and there was nothing casual about her. She’d fall fast and hard for Trevor and want something more than he did, then I’d be stuck in the middle; torn between love and loyalty. While I loved them both, being loyal to one would make me disloyal to the other. Thunder cracks in the sky, I flinch, snapping out of my fictional drama and laugh at myself. Trevor shoots me a look and I just give him a shrug. I need to get a grip on myself, I need to stop making shit up in my mind and focus on reality. I was always doing crazy stuff like that, always daydreaming different scenarios, always getting myself jacked up over things that hadn’t happened yet and most likely never would.

  Kammie bends down and fumbles around; she whips up with this hideous yellow poncho, “heck no!” I croak, “we will look like dorks!” I cross my arms over my chest. And reality crashes down on me, this is unreal. It doesn’t matter that I spent two hours curling my hair this morning, the rain just keeps coming; and it’s not going to ease up anytime soon. Shit like this is the very reason I spend the vast majority of my brain cells daydreaming about fictional problems, it was so much easier to deal with all the things my mind whipped up because when I get too jacked up I can be like it’s not real, it hasn’t happened yet. I eye the offending yellow blob and sigh in defeat. I’d only look like a dork for a second, but if I didn’t use it and got soaked I’d look like a wet mop for hours. Ding, ding logic wins, a dork for a second it is.

  Trevor ignores me again, and shrugs, “sorry there’s only one ,” he smiles, “but you girls are small enough to share it.”

  I glare at him, “let’s just get this over with Lex.” Kammie gives my arm a tug before she rips open the door and plunges into a curtain of rain with the poncho hanging over her head. I roll my eyes, grab our stuff and grab my end of the poncho. I plop ri
ght into a puddle and curse the rain. Mud and water slosh over my shoes and ankles. I slam the door in a bout of anger. We scream just as a bolt of lightning slashes across the sky with a crash of thunder. My heart races as we run through the puddles and it doesn’t slow until we make it inside. Kammie and I check each other out to make sure nothing’s out of place. Somehow we both manage to make it with our hair and makeup intact. I look around as I hand over her things, I can’t say the same for other unfortunate people. The hallways are full of pissed off soggy teens and squeaky shoes.

  Guilt ebbs its dirty little fingers into the corners of my heart, all the nasty, snarky, bitchy comments I’ve tossed in Trevor’s direction come to surface and I feel like the scum of the Earth. Kammie’s has the yellow poncho wadded, and clutched to her chest like it’s her last scrap of security. I sigh, frustrated with my behavior, if it wasn’t for that poncho I’d be another soggy pissed off teen. Looking like a dork for a second was completely worth it, I survey the halls again, everyone was preoccupied with something or another; I doubt anyone noticed two girls under a poncho.

  Two girls under a poncho, sounds lame and insignificant, like most of the things I worry about. I’m so ready to grow up and get over myself. I have this attitude about myself often, I know I need to change, but I just can’t seem to make it happen, it’s like I always go back to my old ways. I think knowing this about myself, knowing that I’m selfish and immature is a good start, maybe it’s a step in the right direction.

  A hand clamps on my shoulder causing me to jump, I spin around and Trevor shakes his shaggy hair in my direction trying to spray me with water. I slap his arm and dive away, “don’t you dare!” All thoughts of maturity and guilt are shattered from a touch of his hand and a flick of his head.

  He ignores me and laughs, “You’re welcome!” Kammie goes to return the poncho when a super hot girl walks up to us. She’s older, you can tell because she has big boobs and she dresses like she should be on MTV. I don’t know her, but I know she’s everything I want to be and I just have to get in with her. It’s crazy and unexplainable, but there’s something about her that just draws you in and spits you out. Maybe it’s because she walks like she knows everyone’s looking, or maybe it’s the way she eyes you like she knows you want to look like her; be her. I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is—she’s got it and I want it too.

  She flips her sleek blonde Barbie hair over her shoulder before she attacks Trevor with a kiss and a hug. Kammie steps back and looks like a wounded puppy, clarifying my earlier suspicion of her having a crush on Trevor. I direct my attention back to my cousin and this super model that’s wrapped herself in a knot around him. Her pink mini skirt hikes little higher, inches away from giving everyone around a peepshow. Trevor unhinges Barbie’s arms from around his neck and nods his head in our direction. “Girls this is Kim. Kim this is Lexi and Kammie.” Kim tugs the bottom of her white lacy tank down while she sizes me up.

  Kim narrows her blue eyes and shoots us an ice glare that makes my blood run cold, “So?” I definitely want to be on this chick’s good side. You could tell she’s the type of girl to make your life hell if she doesn’t like you.

  Trevor laughs, “So?” he bumps my hip, “Lexi is my baby cousin,” I grumble gawd! When he calls me baby. He tunes me out, “and she’s practically my sister.” He says this with an air of authority; he says it like he’s warning her of something. This makes me think that maybe the two of them are kind of an item, like maybe he’s seen a wild pretty thing that’s wild and pretty enough to make him not care about all the other wild and pretty things out there.

  Kim’s ice melts into a smile and she recovers in seconds, “I can totally see the family resemblance,” she pulls me into a giant hug that makes me feel like we’re instant best friends. I totally have to master that; she went from claws to cuddles in two seconds and it seemed sincere even though it wasn’t. Kim pulls away, “and who are you?” she doesn’t seem as evil as before but she’s definitely not as warm to Kammie as she was to me. I glance at Kammie and shake my head, I’m sure her lack of warmth has everything to do with the way Kammie’s eyeing Trevor like he’s freaking Johnny Depp. I make a mental note to remind myself to teach Kammie survival skills like not ogling the queen bee’s honey hive, or Kammie wasn’t going to make it through high school.

  Chills finger down my spine as I watch Kim give Kammie the look of death, I know that look. It takes me back to that day in the eighth grade when Maggie Lynne made me eat mud.

  We were at some park on a field trip when Tommy Middleton told me I was pretty and he bought me some trinket that’s been long lost and forgotten as a token for his affection. I giggled and gave him a hug, but that wasn’t enough, he asked me for a kiss. I giggled again, unsure of myself, but I remembered how cute he was and how I wanted to kiss him too.

  With our four eyes closed, our two hearts beating our breaths away, and our two bodies leaning into the moment we were at the edge of our very first kiss, but at the last second I chickened out and went for his cheek instead of his mouth. As soon as my lips left his cheek both our eyes flutter open and at first we both just stand there, then Tommy closed the distance between us to finish what I couldn’t, but before he could Maggie rips me away from my first kiss and shoves me to the ground.

  I remember the weight of her body on my back, the hatred that pulsed at her fingertips while she pulled at my hair and shoved my face in a puddle of mud. I remember how the words felt when she whispered them in my ear, “Eat mud, Tommy’s mine you slut.” That’s all she said, but like I said I remember how the words felt, they felt like knifes slicing into my ears, cutting through my skin. I wiggled and fought, but my struggle only made her shove my face deeper into the mud, it squished up my nose, in my eyes, seeped into my mouth making me gag.

  Maggie moved to a different school in the middle of the eighth grade, even though she’s long gone, the taste of mud still lingers fresh as if it were just yesterday.

  Kim’s looking at Kammie like Maggie looked at me and all I can think of is how mud tastes; mud tastes like the sting of tears feel; weak and helpless. I was definitely going to have to help Kammie or she was going to eat mud herself.

  Trevor takes the poncho, “Kammie,” he smiles at her, “I’ll take that. I’m sure you don’t want a lake in your locker.” Kammie blushes and looks at her feet, I stare at her trying to will her with my eyes to look in my direction so I can send her some sort of best friend signal; something subtle, something only she’d catch. But wouldn’t you know these things only seem to happen in my imagination, and reality wasn’t quite panning out just right because Kammie’s still staring at her feet oblivious to her best friend and the girl she’s pissed off by drinking her Kool-Aid.

  Kim flips her hair and pulls on Trevor’s arm, “Everyone is waiting.” She says. She’s beautiful with her lips plump in a pout, a twinkle of desperation in her eyes, and the way her hips wink when they sway with a whisper of late night promises. I’m in awe even though her performance was meant for Trevor. Her efforts are wasted because he doesn’t give her the time of day. Instead of becoming putty in her hands, he seems irritated. I don’t know if it’s because he’s a free bird and she’s clingy, or if he’s ticked by her coldness when he introduced us. Either way I can tell by the expression on his face that he wants her to go away.

  Trevor jerks free of her arm which Kim doesn’t like, because she looks like she could kill someone right now, “you want me to help you find your lockers and a class or two?” he places a hand on my shoulder.

  I swallow my discomfort, without realizing it, Trevor had put me on a slippery slope. While I was nervous about my first day of school, and could really use Trev as a security blanket, I knew if I didn’t tread carefully here I could end up on Kim’s shit list. And I definitely didn’t want to be on her shit list. “Oh no! Go on with your friends,” I wave him away, “I got Kammie and we’ll be fine, we mapped our classes out in orientation,” I crack my fac
e with a big fake smile and tried to think of kittens and rainbows instead of ice and mud.

  Trevor frowns. He wipes at his face with his hand, “Kim you go on, I’ll catch up with you. I want to make sure my little cuz is set straight.” I suppress a real grin for self preservation; I should have known Trevor could see through my façade. All that little giddiness and love quickly fades when I see the resentment on Kim’s face. Pangs of panic prick my stomach in fear she’ll blame me for his rejection.

  She huffs, “seriously? I hardly think she needs her hand held.”

  Trevor glares at her, “I’m making sure her first day of high school goes smooth so she can have a good day. I hardly think that’s holding her hand,” she places a hand on his shoulder but he shrugs it off, “later Kim,” at that she’s dismissed from his presence.

  I wait until she flounces out of sight before I dive into his arms and squeeze him, “you’re the best cousin ever!” warmth bubbles in my stomach, I should have known he’d always take care of me. The fear of Kim’s retribution is smothered in his arms; his heart beat flutters against my cheek and safe is all I feel.

  “I could have told you that.” He says. And he doesn’t pull away like most boys would, instead he gives me a hard squeeze with a smile I can feel in my bones.

  We break apart and I shove my purse higher up my arm, I’m about to give him the third degree about Kim, but before I can someone interrupts. “When did you and Kim break up?” a deep voice rumbles behind me.

  I look and my heart sinks to my stomach when I see the hottest guy on the planet. His clothes are nothing special, just a fitted white tee and faded jeans, but he’s the type of guy that makes simple things look complicated, complicated things look simple; he’s the type of guy whether you dressed him down or up it didn’t matter, even if he was wearing rags and ashes he’d still look like a GQ model. His hair’s the color that’s between dirty blonde and light brown, too much of both to be considered either, it falls choppy just above his ears, the perfect length. Or at least he makes this length look perfect, it’s probably his eyes that make him look so good, they’re dark and cloudy like the sky caught in a storm, they’re gray and blue, no it’s got to be his face. It’s his face that makes him look so good, it’s all angles and edges, his jaw is firm and dotted with stubble, just like I think a dude’s jaw should be. My eyes trail his body, no it’s got to be his body that draws me in, the shirt clings to his torso in a way that no one has to wonder if he’s built or not, you could easily see it for yourself. My eyes go back to his face, I look him over head to toe, no, no, no he just looks good. It’s not just his eyes, body, or face that makes him attractive, he’s just attractive because he is.

  He’s so pretty all I can do is stare at him like I’m some little girl. He’s ripped, built like a capital T. I know he’s already hit puberty there’s no way he’s a high schooler; just no way. I don’t think they make boys that look like this in real life, not with that smile and those muscles—not in a million years did they look this good in middle school. Tommy Middleton was cute, but my goodness this guy was hot.

  Kammie elbows me, I look at her and she leans to whisper hottie in my ear and I nod in agreement and whisper back vampire diaries hot. She giggles in agreement.

  “We’re not.” Trevor says to the guy. He looks a little confused, but then he gets pissed. “Did she say that we were?”

  Mr. vampire diaries hottie points at me and I freeze up, “you’re all over that chick.” He says.

  Trevor doubles over with laugher, “this is my little cousin,” he ruffles my hair and I kick his shin, “damn! What the hell?”

  I look at Kammie and she’s already smoothing my hair, “don’t mess with my hair! It took me forever to fix it.”

  Trevor looks super pissed and now I feel like a big baby and maybe I shouldn’t have acted so childish in front of his hot friend. I look at my feet and didn’t dare look in the guy’s direction. My cheeks were burning hot with embarrassment I know, “well anyways you don’t have to show us around I don’t guess.” I say while secretly hoping he doesn’t take me up on my offer, even though I’d deserve it if he did considering I just kicked him in the shin and all.

  Trevor recovers, “I won’t ever touch your hair again I swear,” I feel guilty again, little good feeling guilty does me, since I keep having tantrums—even after Trevor’s shown me nothing but kindness. Sure, he bugs me some, but I mean it’s out of love, so I should defiantly cut him some slack and stop taking him for granted.

  I smile and nudge his hip, “well you better if it has a bug in it.” He laughs and I know just like that we’re good again.

  I pass Kammie a note in first period. That guy was Stephen hot. Kammie giggles before she tosses the paper back at me. Trevor is Damen hot. I scrunch up my nose in disgust, I know Trevor is cute and all but he’s still my cousin. I scribble I knew you liked Trevor! I can always tell when you have a crush on someone. I slide the note across my desk and Kammie snatches it back. She glances at me and scribbles away before she gives it back do you think he notices? Kim is super hot. I think for a minute tapping my pencil on my chin yeah she is. And she’d eat you alive. Better forget Trev. You remember what Maggie did to me last year…I don’t want you to ever taste mud. And trust me Kim looks like the kind of girl that will make you eat mud if you mess with her man. I wait for Kammie to write something back but she just tucks the letter away in her jean skirt. I bite my lip hopping she isn’t mad or anything. And if she is, she’d get over it because I was only looking out for her.

  The bell rings and we head to our next class, “I didn’t mean anything by it but you know that girl could ruin us.” I say in a weak attempt to buffer the tension between the two of us.

  Kammie cuddles her books to her chest, “you’re right, I just can’t help who I like you know?” I nod because I know, but I tell her again to be careful when I taste mud in the back of my throat.

  After second period’s bell we delve into the crowd and make our way back to our lockers. I toss in my books and slam the door, “hey you going to put a lock on your locker?” Kammie asks me.

  I shrug my purse over my shoulder, “I still don’t know how to open a lock with a combination.”

  “I thought you were going to practice over the summer.”

  I roll my eyes and loop my arm through hers, “I was but I kept putting it off to do other stuff like get a tan and sit at the pool to scope out hotties.”

  Kammie nods, “yeah we did that a lot.” We giggle our way through the crowd, not really talking about anything while talking about everything at the same time. I watch Kammie scrunch up her nose and shoot me looks when she gets excited about a topic; it’s moments like these that matter the most to me. We could be anywhere in the world right now, Kammie and me, and nothing would change. Just as long as the two of us are together anything we do could seem so normal, with that thought, somehow high school doesn’t seem like such a big deal. It’s like having a best friend was equivalent to having your own secret weapon.

  The lunchroom isn’t as packed as I thought it would be. Kammie and I are able to snag our own table next to a window. We’re discussing our day so far and totally stuffing our faces with pizza when Trevor eases next to me at our booth. He snatches my pizza and eats half of it in one bite, “hey!” I grab my pizza back and cram as much of it as I can in my mouth, showing him that he was not welcome to my only slice of pizza.

  “woah she eats like a trucker!” I am utterly mortified when I look up and see Mr. Hottie sitting across from me. Trevor laughs like an idiot and I swear I want to kill him. All thoughts of earlier confidence are thrown out the window in matters of acting a fool in front of a guy. I can’t believe he saw me stuffing my face like a glutton, it figures the first time I eat in front of some guy I think is cute he’d compare me to a trucker. I don’t even know what that means. I don’t usually stuff my face; okay so when my guards down I do cram my face. It’s survivor of the fittest when it comes to teens
and pizza; only the strong will down the most slices. That’s generally how Trev operates around Pizza or anything that tastes good; we can never keep enough food in the house so I’ve learned to eat as much as I can as fast as I can, or hide it somewhere good. And I know it’s disgusting; even Kammie adopts the method when she comes over. Searching for snacks at our house was like searching for Waldo. If Trevor so much as sniffed it out, it was good as gone.

  I swallow my bite in a painful gulp that makes my eyes water, “I thought seniors and juniors have their lunch at a different time than ours.” I grumble and silently curse my fate. Had I known Trevor would crash my lunch with this dude I would have refreshed my makeup; munched daintily on a salad. I bet he’d never call me a trucker if I was eating a salad.

  Trevor grins, “Me and Blake always sneak in so we can eat lunch twice.” Yeah somehow, I am seriously not surprised, or impressed. I did; however, compute to memory that Mr. Stephen Vampire Diaries Hottie’s name was Blake.

  I don’t share their merriment, “nice,” I roll my eyes and could care less at how cute that makes Blake seem to me. I know I’ve already blown whatever chance I had with him. He compared me to a trucker! I’m not entirely sure how a trucker eats but I somehow doubt that means sexy. After today it’s nothing but rabbit food for me. I’m lost in my thoughts when a napkin hits my face. I look up and see that Blake’s person that threw it.

  “you got some sauce on your chin.” He says.

  If I thought I could die before, I could really die now. I blot at my chin and kiss my chance with him goodbye. I want to cry because he’s definitely my kind of hot. His eyes are dark and stormy more gray than blue. And his hair is a soft brown with a mixture of blond cut in a hip style; not too short—not too long. I raise my chin in the air and stretch over the table towards him, “Get it all?”

  He doesn’t say anything but his eyes swallow his face, Trevor tugs me down in the booth, “this skirt is too short, I’m telling mom to throw it out,” I scowl at him, but he isn’t through speaking, “I can see your underwear when you bend over.”

  Kammie gasps and I turn on Trevor, “Seriously?”

  Trevor nods, “seriously.” I want to scratch out his eyeballs because I definitely wasn’t asking him if he was being serious, I was saying seriously as in, I can’t believe you’re seriously acting this way; I can’t believe you’re embarrassing me. But he knew how I meant it, which is why he chose to be a smart ass about it.

  And I should have stopped while I was ahead, but did I? Nope. Instead I roll my eyes, “I doubt it’s that short.” I don’t understand why he thinks he has any right to control what I wear. Kim’s skirt is a lot shorter than mine.

  “You have ninja turtle underwear on.” Trevor’s leaning back in the booth with his arms folded over his chest; looking like a king. I guess he thinks his declaration is proving some kind of point, the only thing he is proving to me is that he obviously hates me; I literally can’t think of anything I’ve ever done to him that warrants this much embarrassment.

  I slap his chest, “go eff yourself! And get out of my booth! Gawd!” I burry my face in my hands, “you’re so embarrassing.” I’d give anything to rewind the last five minutes of my life right now; there’s got to be a better conversation than this—seriously, my underwear and length of skirt cannot be the hottest topic of the day.

  Trevor shrugs, “stop flirting with my friend.” Just when I think he can’t humiliate me anymore, he opens his mouth; if only I had a knife I’d cut out his tongue and sell it on the black market along with his eyeballs.

  Tears prick my eyes I’m so embarrassed, “I mean it Trevor,” I growl, “go away I don’t want to talk to you anymore!” Then before I can think better of it I blurt, “and I don’t see you lecturing Kim on her short skirt.” Flashes of her bits of fabric race through my mind; without knowing her I kind of feel like I’ve seen enough of her body to have known her for years.

  Trevor grins, “That’s different,” he snags my milk and throws it back in one gulp. Wiping his chin he continues, “besides you’ve got the Parker booty.” Thank God he didn’t continue, I knew what he meant by that comment. All the female Parkers have big booties; our booties make any skirt, dress or shorts draw up an inch or two shorter. Just when I didn’t think he had anything else to throw on the table, dude has to show me up and slide an ace out of his sleeve. Sometimes he’s the best person in the whole world and other times I just want to put him six feet under. If this was a cartoon full of cartoon people I guess I’d have steam streaming from my ears and a blood red face with blood shot eyes. But this is no cartoon; and there is no laughter at the table. Just loud silence, and a lot of eyes looking anywhere but at me.

  Kammie looks out the window and Blake’s face is red as a tomato. He’s probably embarrassed that an ogre was flirting with him. Tears are threatening to spring a leak any minute. I stand up and jump over Trevor’s lap, “fine I’ll leave then.” I run out of cafeteria before he can stop me. As I get up I think I hear Blake ask if I was crying but I’m not completely sure. I don’t stop running until I make it to the girl’s bathroom. I keep myself together until I’m safe in a stall then I slide to the floor and cry. I cry because I am fat and ugly; I cry because the change wasn’t well received from the hottest guy I’ve ever seen and I have no chance with him.

  I wonder if this is what Kim did when Trevor gave her the cold shoulder. Somehow I doubt Kim was the type to sit in the floor and cry over some boy, she’d probably turn her tears into fury and focus on how to come out on top. And whether I wear the change well or not, it’s here to stay so I may as well own it. I scrub the tears from my face, I promise myself that one boy’s opinion doesn’t matter, he’s just one boy.

  I climb out of the floor and stand in front of the mirror. My makeup is still intact; I save up and buy the good stuff at the mall. I run the water and snatch up a paper towel, add soap and water to it and scrub my face. There’s no point in wearing makeup if you’re not pretty anyways. All it does is draw attention to you. I stare at myself and another tear sloshes from the corner of my eye. I do look a lot like Trevor, but I’m not as attractive. I have the same dark hair and blue eyes, but on me it’s just subpar; I walk away from the mirror sick of looking at myself, unable to keep my promise.

  I step into the hallway and crash into Trevor. He doesn’t say anything he just holds out my purse. After I grab it, he throws me over his shoulder. I kick and scream but he doesn’t put me down. Teachers and students glare but make room for us in the hall. He doesn’t put me down until we return to our booth. I spit hair out of my mouth and look up from my seat. Kammie and Blake are staring at each other and laughing. At first I’m completely jealous but then remember I’m not pretty enough for Blake; but Kammie is and maybe Blake has a cute buddy that’s not out of my league.

  Trevor drums the table impatiently, “so we good this weekend?” he narrows his eyes at Blake and I feel like I’ve missed something because I don’t know where this tension is coming from.

  Blake nods and rubs his chin, “I was telling Kammie she should come too,” no one notices the tick in Trevor’s jaw but me, I know he only does that when he’s pissed about something. Which kind of makes me wonder what was said when I was gone, because before I left he was fine.

  Kammie tucks her hair behind her ear and she beams at me, “Trevor is having some kind of party while your aunt is gone!” Excitement ripples in my chest, but then it gets kind of lodged in my ribs, because I clearly heard Blake say Kammie should come. He didn’t include me in the invitation; I guess it’s possible he assumed I would be there since I lived with Trev? It doesn’t matter whether he invites me or not, he seems to be interested in Kammie, so there’s no point in stressing over his motives.

  Trevor smiles and the tick is gone, he looks at me. I guess he’s afraid I’m going to rat him out or something which makes me bummed that he thinks I’m that lame, “will there be alcohol?”

  Trevor frowns at me, “that you
won’t drink,” I grin and make myself a promise that I will drink some just to prove I can hang with the best of them. And I make a vow to redeem myself for being compared to a trucker with turtle underwear. I would own the change and bring Blake to his knees, Kammie giggles causing me to blink, or not. Yeah, I can’t bring Blake to his knees, but I can own the change and make it my bitch.

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